In the digital age we are blessed with an abundance of opportunity to simply log in, click, and get to work. Businesses can be run from mobile devices, meetings made over Skype, and online stores can have global outreach, with endless possibilities. But what exactly is the lure and attraction of working as a digital nomad?
Hammocks and Pina Coladas?
Potentially. But there is a lot more to working as a digital nomad than just island hopping in Indonesia in between yoga sessions and having deep intellectual conversations around camp fires with Oxbridge graduates living off a trust fund. It’s about finding a sense of purpose, without having to root yourself down to one place; creating something of value, without pigeon holing your capabilities or services to one particular client specification, or area code. Working as a digital nomad is primarily about freedom, of course, but its main attraction lends itself to being flexible as a human being. Gone are the days where trade jobs and public services make up the desires of tomorrows adult generation. The world has moved on. The non-linear working environment is portable. With flexible space comes flexible time, too. We are no longer required to work 9-5. That’s so 00’s. You can hook up to your clients from your favourite coffee shop, and return home for a catnap if you please in the afternoon. The shorter working day isn’t just born from a desire for more free time or to get home faster, but to squeeze as much energy and enthusiasm in to the working day, which can actually lead to positive results.
Studies have shown that a shorter working day, starting earlier, and thus finishing earlier, improved people’s output as well as mood and energy levels. Workers found more time and energy to fulfil their out of office hobbies and spend time with loved ones. And in a time of mass pressure and anxiety levels in society hitting an alarming peak, the idea of creating more space for wellbeing and You time sounds like a dream.
So, how do you go about working as a digital nomad?
The TeaNomads started this journey long before it became trendy. Sure, there were certainly people doing it at the time their journey began, they just didn’t have the wealth and expanse of today’s social interaction to shout about it. Blogging was just taking off and social media was still about posting what you had for breakfast as opposed to inspiring others and sharing your story. But now, as never before, more people are flocking to the idea of working from their own devices, in their own time, answering to no one but themselves. The trick is making it sustainable.
As with anything in life, sustainability is key, and working as a digital nomad is no exception. Of course you can spend a few good months in Bali, camping on the beach drinking skinny vegan lattes from the shell of an avocado, whilst someone plays the digeridoo from their camper van, but the novelty will wear off eventually. A foundation of success is built around a plan. Somebody far wiser than me once said; an idiot with a plan can go further in life than a genius without one.
How very true.
The idea of working as a digital nomad in the first instance is to not only have the freedom to travel and more opportunity, but its core foundation and principle, if you will, it to actually pursue something you enjoy. If you hate working from laptops, or being glued to you phone, then working as a digital nomad, no matter where you are in the world, is not going to be your cup of tea. Pun intended. A huge part of your day is going to be spent tracking the notification icon on your phone, potentially missing the hottest part of a day to do a call or arrange a meeting for some person on the other side of the world. Or even if you have your own company, as The TeaNomads do, they can assure you that no amount of planning or preparation to have a day off can result in that actually happening. Life happens wherever you are in the world. Circumstances change, and a huge part of being self-sustainable is being completely self-reliant on managing your schedule and being adaptable to that changing frequently.
As COVID-19 takes hold of many people’s lives in the early stages of 2020, people are however being forced to consider their working life. How many people that commute two or three hours per day to an office surrounded with people they don’t care too much for, are considering the possibility that squashing a meal deal into a half an hour lunch break isn’t necessarily the way things have to be?
I know I would be.
Workspaces are intended to be places for communal interest, social interaction, building a sense of team and community. But how many work spaces can say they truly provide such an atmosphere? Certainly, most offices don’t have the luxury of an indoor slide like Google HQ.
Maybe in these times of uncertainty, one thing that can be reassessed is the quality of one’s working environment. After all, you spend the majority of your life in that very place. You should enjoy being there. And if not, well, working as a digital nomad, as discussed, has its perks and advantages. The real question is does it suit you as a person? Does the idea of surrounding yourself with people you might actually like, and taking a few hours for an all you can eat vegan feast for lunch, in some place where the sun shines ten hours per day sound like a good idea?
If it does, maybe working as a digital nomad is for you. The biggest advice The TeaNomads would have is to really asses what matters to you. What makes you tick? What factors in life are most important to you achieving a work and life balance? Are you capable and ready to commit 100 hour weeks to build something that allows the possibility of a future working as a digital nomad? But, most importantly, how can you deliver in the landscape of working as a digital nomad?